• James Purvis

7 Differences Between an "A Player" Sales Demo vs. "B Player's"

Updated: Apr 27

I recently took the "Demo Master Class" from revenue intelligence software company, Gong, and it was extremely intriguing and eye opening. It got me to re-think my entire approach to product demos and the tweaks I've made are driving more engagement from prospects and leading me to shorter sales cycles and bigger deals. If you follow the 7 "A Player" Principles for Product Demos below, I'm super confident that you will achieve similar results. The even better news for you is that 90% of reps are doing demos the traditional way which is the "B Player" approach! It's time to elevate your demo game and completely destroy your competition in your deals by wowing your prospects.



Let's start by highlighting what "B Players" strive to do when it comes to demos...


The "B Player" Demo Checklist:


  1. Build anticipation and save the best for last

  2. Build as much value as possible

  3. Focus on benefits

  4. Respond to questions with well-prepared answers

  5. Name drop some big customers

  6. Prove ROI

  7. Ask for next steps


After reading the 7 steps above, I bet you're thinking; "Wtf! This sounds like the perfect checklist for a successful demo!" That's because it's the most intuitive approach out there and it's how all of us have been taught and doing it for years. The truth is, Gong has done a bunch of studies on this stuff and the results show that it's actually a pretty ass backwards approach. Why? It's not as engaging and it feels like a never-ending "product tour" for your prospects.


You're probably wondering now, "If the above approach which seems intuitive and justifiable isn't the right approach, what the hell is?"Let's break it down by introducing what I call the, 7 "A Player Principles" for Product Demos that Gong has uncovered.


Principle #1


B Players: Build anticipation and save the best for last.

A Players: Flip your demo upside down: Start with the end.


Pro Tip: Find out what the 3 most important priorities are to the prospect during discovery and rank them by level of importance. Start the demo with what's most important to them followed by the second and third. This is your demo flow and will have them paying full attention throughout!


Principle #2


B Players: Build as much value as possible

A Players: Give them a taste.


Pro Tip: Never spend more than 9 minutes on a single topic, show less features, and avoid a "product tour." The more you show, the more your message is diluted. Leave them always wanting more as it will create more engagement.


Fun Facts: According to Gong, top reps spend 39% less time pitching product features than average performers. They also get 28% more questions from the prospects than avg performers.


Principle #3


B Players: Focus on the benefits.

A Players: Focus on tearing apart the status quo.


Pro Tip: Loss aversion = people will work twice as hard to avoid loss than they will to gain benefits. Focus your message on how unsustainable status quo is.


Example: Selling formaldehyde-free furniture to retailers


"B Player Pitch"


  • We sell formaldehyde-free furniture

  • It's healthier, greener, and cleaner

  • Your customers will love it and will buy in droves

  • You will make more money


"A Player Pitch"


  • Americans are becoming more health-conscious and weary of harmful chemicals

  • In fact, Google search for "formaldehyde-free furniture" is up 600% in 2 years

  • We help retailers make good on this opportunity by providing formaldehyde-free furniture


The "A Player" pitch nails it because it's using loss aversion by focusing on an external trend they are missing out on. In today's world, because of the competitive landscape and the speed in which businesses move - missing out on a big trend can put you out of business (i.e. Blockbuster Video, Borders, Toys R' Us, MySpace, Kodak, Napster, etc.) very quickly. Conversely, the "B Player" focuses solely on the benefits which sounds like how everyone else pitches products and is far less impactful.


Principle #4


B Players: Respond to questions with well-prepared answers

A Players: Maintain control of the conversation.


Example: A "B Player" can get derailed in the beginning of a demo because the buyer might just jump into asking about price disrupting the entire flow of the conversation. An "A Player" knows how to control the conversation by disclosing from the very beginning that price will be discussed at the end demo.


Pro Tip: Answer objections with questions but avoid responding with "Why?" Instead, respond with, "Can you help me understand what's causing that concern?"


Principle #5


B Players: Name drop some big time customers.

A Players: Avoid generic social proof like the plague.


This is another one that might seem difficult to agree with but think about it - nobody cares if General Electric is your customer if they are nothing like them and their situation is completely different.


Pro Tip: List out all the companies that are in your prospect's industry and how many of them are customers of yours. Then, show the # of customer increase from the previous years which shows a growing trend towards your solution in the marketplace. The message is not that you work with an individual customer. The message is your buyer's tribe is bandwagoning with your company.


Principle #6


B Players: Prove ROI.

A Players: Build your business case with customer stories (not ROI calculations).


Pro Tip: Use before & after stories and include the business outcomes and metrics they achieved.


Fun Fact: Gong's studies show that reps who don't use ROI language in meetings have a 27% higher close rate. The reason is, when you calculate ROI, your prospect will argue with your assumptions! It often comes across as a weak argument and damages credibility.


Principle #7


B Players: Ask for next steps at the end.

A Players: Ask for next steps at the beginning.


Pro Tip: Set an up front contract: "By the end of this call, I'd like you to be in the position where you're either interested and we agree on a logical next step or you're not interested and we go our separate ways.


Fun Fact: Gong's studies show that close rates decline 71% when next steps are not discussed on the first call.


There you have it, The 7 "A Player" Principles for Product Demos. Try it out and let me know what you think! It definitely upped my game and I hope it does for you too.


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James Purvis

e: jwpurvis13@gmail.com

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